Times of Swaziland
23 September 2008
23 vacant parly seats for women
By ARTHUR MORDAUNT
MBABANE – Aspiring women Parliamentarians should not lose hope as the constitution calls for at least 30 percent representation.
This means if this constitutional provision is met there will be a total of 28 women MPs. So far only five women have made it to Parliament by being voted for.
However there are still 40 posts that have to be filled in Parliament.
It is guaranteed that at least 18 of the 40 posts will go to women through appointments while the others could be through nominations.
About 13 of them will be in Senate while five will be in the House of Assembly. The number could rise to nine if certain constitutional provisions are to be fulfilled.
The country’s constitution (section 95) stipulates that after elections for Members of Parliament, the king shall then nominate or appoint 10 MPs, half of whom shall be women. These shall add to the 55 already elected from the various constituencies around the country.
The king, according to section 94, shall appoint 20 Senators. About eight of them shall be female. Added to that number will be 10 other Senators who shall be nominated by elected Members of Parliament. Half of them shall be female.
Once it is realised that women Parliamentarians do not form 30 percent of the total number of legislators, the chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), in this case Chief Gija, shall call elected Members of Parliament to nominate four women who shall join them in Parliament.
Between three and five women shall be nominated from each region. Their names will be published in the print media for three consecutive days and 10 days later, the House shall meet to vote for the four women (one from each region) to join them in parliament.
Head of government’s Gender Unit Nonhlanhla Dlamini said they believed they were going to achieve the 30 percent female representation in parliament.
Dlamini said the ‘vote for a woman campaign’ has so far proven difficult to achieve because currently only five women have made it through and there are only two areas where voting is still to take place.
"We can achieve the 30 percent representation if we are able to have at least 20 women in both houses of parliament," Dlamini said